Diversion Center slated to shutter

By Joe Beck

The White Post Men’s Diversion Center is among three state Department of Corrections facilities to be closed under executive branch cost cutting plans announced by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

The White Post closing will be accompanied by the abolition of 42 jobs at the facility and a projected 34 layoffs, according to an email message by Larry Traylor, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections.

“The Virginia Department of Corrections is required to reduce its budget by $20,288,802 this fiscal year, and these reductions will continue into the next fiscal year,” Traylor wrote.

The department also plans to close the Powhatan Main Correctional Center and the work center at Cold Springs.

The opening of the Culpeper Correctional Center has also been delayed to an undetermined date as a result of the budget cuts.

The 128 offenders at White Post will either graduate from the program or be sent to other diversion centers, Traylor said. The agency plans to sell the facility after the closing.

The Department of Corrections does not categorize White Post as an institutional prison. Instead, the agency designates it as a community corrections and diversion program for offenders serving probation sentences.

The program runs five to seven months and allows participants to work at paid jobs involving manual labor on public works and community service projects. Those at White Post are also eligible for programs such as employment counseling, GED preparation and substance abuse education.

Other savings in the Department of Corrections budget include: sales of the Botetourt and Pulaski properties; holding all equipment funding for the fiscal year, leaving open additional vacancies and delaying the filling of 20 correctional officer positions in this year’s budget. The agency will also delay the filling of nine new sex offender monitoring positions.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com